When asked whether he feels confident Duke City Derby will find a venue, John Morningstar takes a several-second pause before answering.
"There are two different ways to look at that," DCD's head referee finally says. "I'm very confident we'll be playing in Albuquerque again. The venue's another matter."
The search for an indoor place to call home has not borne any fruit since the league started house hunting in late June. Duke City had been playing games at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, but ticket sales weren't strong enough to make it a financially viable haven.
Morningstar, or "Fair Game" as he's known on the track, says he doesn't expect a venue in Albuquerque to be established until next year. He insists there's still a strong possibility the league could finish out the season with pickup games in an Albuquerque park. This year's league champion has yet to be crowned.
A committee made up of Duke City players has been charged with securing a permanent place to play. There are plans to reach out to the new owners of the shuttered Roller King skating rink. Discussions with the rink have yet to take place, according to DoomsDames Captain Miss L. Command.
The DoomsDames and Santa Fe Disco Brawlers squared off on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Taos Youth and Family Center in what turned out to be the closest bout of the year. The Brawlers narrowly escaped defeat, edging out the still winless DoomsDames, 105-103.
“It looked like it was going to be a little bit of a blowout, but then they came back and were determined to knock us off our stool.”
Brawlers Captain Killer Queen
Miss L. Command says it was the most fun she's had in a league game this season. "Two points!" she says when asked to sum up the game. "It was so close, and we did really well."
Brawlers Captain Killer Queen says her team grew complacent after jumping out to a first-half lead of more than 50 points. "It looked like it was going to be a little bit of a blowout, but then they came back and were determined to knock us off our stool," she says. "They totally came back hard."
There was a little dust on the games of some skaters, she adds. Players who aren't on the all-star Muñecas Muertas travel team haven't rolled in a bout since June. "The girls got tired" during Saturday's match, Killer Queen says. "But they pushed through it."
DCD's founder Nan Morningstar says some skaters left the league with the home field in limbo. "It's always a little bit hard to retain everybody when you're in-between venues," Morningstar says. "Every time we have switched homes, we've had a lot of turnover in the roster. But as soon as you get your venue situation ironed out, you always have a ton of newbies show up, so it levels itself out."
Duke City's all-star team, the Muñecas Muertas, has been keeping busy throughout the tumultuous year. Last month, the Muñecas lost 155-107 against the Boston Derby Dames in Beantown. Albuquerque's squad regrouped to trounce the Tucson Roller Derby’s Saddletramps 131-80 in early August.
The Muñecas are slated as the sixth seed in the Western Regional Tournament, which begins Friday, Oct. 2, in Denver. They'll face the top-ranked Oly Rollers from Olympia, Wash., in the first round. Duke City has experience going up against the best team in the region right off the bat. Last year, the team beat the top-seeded Kansas City Roller Warriors in the first round of Western Regionals. Killer Queen says that experience should help the Muñecas' confidence going up against the Oly Rollers. "We're not coming into it thinking we're going to lose," she says.
The all-star squad has two home games on the schedule yet to be played. Nan Morningstar says those won't take place in New Mexico, but there are ongoing discussions to figure out dates and times.
While he says he doesn't know when Duke City will have a home arena, John Morningstar maintains the league plans to stick around. "I don't have any idea where we'll be playing in 2010, but I know we'll be playing," he says. "It's one of those deals that's nonnegotiable. We'll make it happen."